Layer upon layer

July 25th, 2012 by Beth Kleber

James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Mechanical for Esquire or GQ illustration.

These drawings from the James McMullan Collection caught my eye as we were preparing for McMullan’s Masters Series exhibition coming up this fall. McMullan’s art will often incorporate fine pen lines with gentle watercolor but this is one of the few examples I know of where he (like Chwast and Glaser) utilized actual layering for the mechanical; in this case, the pen drawing was printed on a transparent overlay on top of an original watercolor. I love this piece because it’s so carefully constructed; the reader of the magazine article has no idea how each layer stands so beautifully on its own. The colorful base layer is a slightly more abstracted version of McMullan’s trademark watercolor illustrations. The top layer is more unusual (for him): a highly detailed, cross-hatched comic strip style line drawing.

James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Original art for Esquire or GQ illustration.

James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Original art for Esquire or GQ illustration.

James McMullan Collection Box 3 Folder 10. Original art for Esquire or GQ illustration.

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Containerlist

A treasure trove of art and graphics from The Milton Glaser Design Archives. Rare, unseen printed work, original art, and drafts for design and illustration by Glaser, Heinz Edelmann, Seymour Chwast, George Tscherny, James McMullan, and others. For even more design ephemera and art from the School of Visual Arts, see also http://containerlist.glaserarchives.org.

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